Swamiji Says Blog
Universal Shaiva Fellowship
Lakshmanjoo Academy
What are Malas (Impurities) in Kashmir Shaivism - Parātrīśikā Vivarana

What are Malas (Impurities) in Kashmir Shaivism - Parātrīśikā Vivarana

kashmir shaivism malas parātrīśikā vivarana Dec 14, 2023
This is another post about this important subject in Kashmir Shaivism, “What are Malas (impurities)“.

Here are two excerpts from the unpublished manuscript of the Parātrīśikā Vivarana by Swami Lakshmanjoo, from the Audio Archives of the Lakshmanjoo Academy.
Copyright @ John Hughes, all rights reserved.



māyīyakārmamalamūlamuśanti tāvad

ajñānanāmamalamāṇavameva bhadrāḥ /

bījaṁ tadeva bhavajīrṇataroḥ parasmin

saṁvinniśātadahane dahate kṣaṇena //

Māyīya-kārma-mala-mūlam-uśanti tāvad, bhadrāḥ, those who are blessed, those blessed masters explain, bhadrāḥ uśanti–uśanti means vadantī (explain). Bhadrā, those blessed masters say, that māyīyakārmamala-mūlam, the root of māyīyamala and kārmamala is just ignorance, ajñāna-nāma-malam-just ignorance. And that mala is called āṇavamala. So, āṇavamala is the root of the other two impurities.

Which are those other two impurities?

Māyīyamala and kārmamala. Kārmamala is that impurity, “I am joyous! . . . Oh, I am nothing, I am dead . . . I am no more, I am not existing . . . I am sad . . . I am gone . . . I am dead !” Although he is living he says I am dead. It is due to that impurity . . . which impurity?

Kārmamala. “I am beautiful . . . I am ugly . . . I am healthy . . . Oh, I am filled with illness, I am sick!” This is kārmamala.

What is māyīyamala?

“Denise is mine, this girl is not mine . . . this husband is mine, that man is not mine.” What is that?


The root of these two impurities is āṇavamala. Āṇavamala is just ignorance, pure ignorance of God consciousness. When God consciousness is not perceived these two malas get rise.

Do you understand?

. . .

sa eva ca saṁsārāḥ,

And that is saṁsāra-that is world. That is the cycle of world in which you are entangled in the wheel of repeated births and deaths.

And that world will create three malas, that world creates three impurities. That is āṇavamala, māyīyamala and kārmamala. That he explains here.


Apūrṇābhimānena, you find yourself incomplete. That is āṇavamala. For instance, I have got this ‘ferin’ (a long gown) and you have not. You feel yourself full, but without this–it is āṇavamala, it is āṇavamala in you. If you feel that this ‘ferin’ is also mine, this is also mine, this is also mine, then there is no āṇavamala. If you live only in your individual cycle . . .

DEVOTEE:  Limitations.

SWAMIJI:  . . . limited individual cycle, then āṇavamala will catch you. And that is apūrṇābhimānena, you find yourself incomplete. More things are . . .

This is not yours, this does not belong to you.”

This belongs to you!”

This is āṇavamala, i.e. you want to have this also.

If āṇavamala is shunned away then you will find this also belongs to you. Even the holder of this also belongs to you. Then there is no space for āṇavamala in you. You won’t find you; you will find yourself quite complete.

svātmani aṇutvāpādanāt āṇavamalasya,

Svātmani-you find, aṇutvāpādanāt-you find limitation in your being. Some limitation in your being and you are caught by this impurity of āṇavamala. That is āṇavamala.

And the second mala is . . .

tadapūrṇarūpaparipūraṇākāṅkṣāyāṁ bhedadarśanāt māyākhyasya malasya,

Tat apūrṇa rūpa paripūraṇa, that limitation, you want to discard that limitation and want the fullness of your being. When there is wanting, when there is desire, that desire will create another mala in you, that is māyīyamala.

There must not be desire also. If you want to merge in the state of Lord Śiva, that is māyīyamala. You will never merge in the state of Lord Śiva. You will merge only in the state of Lord Śiva when you are merged, when you don’t like to merge. As long as there is liking, there is desire, there is māyīyamala. It won’t let you enter in that state of God consciousness.

Somewhere in some other śāstra, Aṣṭavakra addresses his disciple King Janaka.

‘na śantiṁ labhate mudho yatha śamidaṁ iśyate’

You won’t find peace as long as you desire for peace. You should shun desire for peace also and you are peaceful, you are already peaceful. As long as there is desire to achieve peace, you won’t achieve peace. You have not achieved peace, and you’ll never achieve peace, if this desire for achieving peace is there.

DEVOTEE:  So the same is true for God consciousness?

SWAMIJI:  God consciousness. Don’t desire for God consciousness. As long as there is desire there is māyīyamala.

JOHN:  It’s confusing?


JOHN:  It’s confusing.

SWAMIJI:  It is not confusing. The thing is, the supreme God consciousness does not recognize separateness. As long as you feel that you are away from God consciousness, that creates desire for achieving that. As long as you feel that, “I am one with God consciousness, I am just one with God consciousness,” you are there. It is not to be conducted, it is not to be achieved. As long as the question of achieving is concerned, you won’t achieve.

JOHN:  No, I agree with that. I’m wondering what the role of grace is.

SWAMIJI:  There are two things; one is being and one is becoming. You must live in being, not in becoming. You have not to become, you are being. Live in the state of being, not in the state of becoming. Don’t become.

Where from you have to become?

JOHN:  I understand that.


JOHN:  Then why the notion of all these different levels of grace that God imparts on a person, which makes him want to realize his nature?

SWAMIJI:  So this is the trick of the differentiated grace in the cycle of māyīyamala.

tacchubhāśubhavāsanāgraheṇa kārmamalasya ca ullāsāt

And then, “I am peaceful, . . . I am sad, . . . I don’t want to live, . . . my life is disgusted, . . . I am happy, . . .there is nothing else parallel to me, . . . I am great.” All these things are conducted with the impurity of kārmamala. Śubhā śubha vāsana, I am good and bad, good and bad.

svarūpāparijñānamayitadvaiṣamyanivṛttau malābhāvāt krodhamohādivṛttayo hi paripūrṇabhagavad-bhairavabhaṭṭārakasaṁvidātmikā eva /

When the time comes, svarūpa āparijñāna mayitad vaiṣamya nivṛttau, when you find that, “if I am away from God consciousness, how can I be away from God consciousness, [because] God consciousness is everywhere pervading, how can I be away from God consciousness?” If you realize that way, that is what he says.

Svarūpa āparijñāna mayitad vaiṣamya nivṛttau, that is vaiṣamya, that creates a fuss when you find that I am away from God consciousness. When you see and perceive that I am one with God consciousness, how can I become away from God consciousness. Without God consciousness I cannot exist, God consciousness is always there. Then vaiṣamya, there is no vaiṣamya, there is no differentiatedness. There is no differentiatedness in limitation and un-limitation. Limited being and unlimited being are one there at that stage of understanding.

Read more about malas in Tantraloka and Kashmir Shaivism - the Secret Supreme.

Source: Parātrīśikā Vivarana, by Swami Lakshmanjoo,
from the Archives of the Lakshmanjoo Academy.
All Content is subject to Copyright © John Hughes.


Visit the Lakshmanjoo Academy bookstore for books and e-books. Free audio accompanies each book.

Go to Bookstore

 Stay in the Loop

Receive email updates with blog posts, event notices and other offerings.

Your donations directly support our mission. Please consider making a donation.

Search Website

Stay in the Loop

Receive email updates with blog posts, announcements and more!

We respect your privacy.

© 2023 Lakshmanjoo Academy
(310) 837-0402 [email protected]
Damascus, OR

Search Website